NSA Says China Could Topple US Power Grids and Aviation Systems

NSA chief says state-backed cyberattacks from China and “one or two” states pose an imminent security threat to US key infrastructure if not checked. Although it is not the first time Washington is accusing Beijing for sponsoring cyberattacks on its networks, the latest cybercrime heads-up is enough reason to freak out.

NSA chief warned Congress that Chinese backed cyberattacks on US networks was a ticking time bomb that would soon explode , crippling Key US infrastructure such as  power grids, aviation systems and financial sector . During his Thursdaytestimony to the House of Representatives’intelligence committee, AdmiralMichael Rogers, said China and “one or two” other nations pose an eminent threat to US critical infrastructure.

The NSA chief, who is also a senior official with US cyber Command unit warned the House committee that Chinese based cyberattacks on America’s network  has grown“exponentially in terms of volume and damage done to the nation’s economic future.” He said China and “one or two” other states are building up their attack capabilities through an Electronic “reconnaissance” process in a bid to take downUS network infrastructure.

It is not the first time US is accusing China or Russia for sponsoringcyber-attacks on its networks. However, given Roger’s access to classified Intel and his vast experience in cybersecurity at the helm of top cream Intelligence agencies, the recent cyberattacks heads- up could be a cause for Alarm. “it is only a matter of when, not if, we are going to see something dramatic,” warned the NSA chief.

According Rogers, the bulk lies with the inability of US agencies to thwart cybercrime activities. He acknowledged that US requires sound policies that will not only help deter cybercriminals from attacking its networks but also outline a clear offensive strategies that will scare off attackers. “The Chinese intelligence services that conduct these attacks have little to fear because we have no practical deterrents to that theft. This problem is not going away until that changes,” Rep. Rogers warned the Intelligence committee.

Rogers, who took over from Alexander Keith following the Edward Snowden saga’s, has been at pains to explain NSA’s defensive and offence strategies ofdealing with state sponsored cybercrime to Congress. Some House representatives have been calling for direct count-attacks strategies to cripple criminals’ networks and reduce their capacity to launch attacks.

The NSA chief hasbeen pushing for tougher cyber security legislations on that would allow the private sector share intel on cyber threats with the federal government. “If we wait another year, we are risking the economy of the United States,” said Senator Chambliss, acknowledging the need for counter-crime bill that will help US fortify its networks.

NSA security warnings comes days after the US senate shot down the Surveillance Freedom act, which would have given the spymaster more powers to implement its clandestine surveillance programs. Majority of those who opposed, said the bill contained an extension of the Patriot Act of 2011 which gave law enforcement agencies indiscriminate powers to snoopy in internet users’ private data.

Last month, a group of cyber security firms in US went on ‘hacking back’ operation targeted on criminals’ networks. The operationraised legality issues and sparked theongoing debate on the best offensive cyber strategy available to the afflicted states or organization. Some security experts have disapproved hacking back, saying it is illegal, while other experts hold that hacking back is morally right. On his part Rogers has called on the need for sound policies that will outline both defensive and offensive strategies of combating cybercrime.

Lawrence Mwangi Lawrence is a technology and business reporter. He has freelanced for a number of tech sites and magazines. He is a web-enthusiast, with a special interest in Online security, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. When not writing about tech he can be found in a Tennis court or on a chess board.
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